Asian markets mixed after Wall St gains on jobs data

·3 min read

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Friday after Wall Street rose as investors analyzed conflicting economic signals ahead of a Federal Reserve conference next week.

Shanghai and Seoul declined while Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. Oil prices edged lower but stayed above $90 per barrel.

Wall Street rose, rebounding from Wednesday's tumble, after corporate results and fewer unemployment claims than expected suggested the U.S. economy has pockets of resiliency despite repeated interest rate hikes.

Investors worry the Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia might derail global economic growth as they hike rates to cool inflation that is running at multi-decade highs.

The latest U.S. data “might keep the door open for aggressive Fed tightening,” said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2% to 3,270.86 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.1% to 28,967.94. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.4% to 19,842.99.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.1% to 2,504.86 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced less than 0.1% to 7,116.00.

New Zealand and Singapore retreated while Jakarta gained.

Investors looked ahead to the Fed's annual Jackson Hole conference in Wyoming next week for indications of when and how much the U.S. central bank might raise rates.

Minutes on the Fed's July meeting released this week said inflation still is too high and made clear the central bank will keep raising interest rates.

The Fed has raised interest rates twice this year by 0.75 percentage points, triple its usual margin. Forecasters expect a hike at the board's September meeting, but say pressure for a similarly large increase has declined as economic growth cooled.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,283.74 after the Labor Department reported fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

“Initial jobless claims dipped, easing concerns a little bit that the labor market was starting to head in the wrong direction,” said Moya.

That followed data Wednesday that showed July retail sales held steady with the previous month despite concern inflation might depress consumers' willingness to spend.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1% gain to 33,999.04. The Nasdaq added 0.2% to 12,965.34.

Technology companies gained. Cisco Systems rose 5.8% after reporting solid results.

Energy stocks also climbed as U.S. crude oil prices rose. Devon Energy rose 5.9%.

Department store Kohl’s fell 7.7% after issuing a disappointing financial forecast.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 24 cents to $90.26 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $2.39 to $90.50 on Thursday. Brent crude, the price basis for international trading, shed 30 cents to $96.29 per barrel in London. It jumped $2.94 the previous day to $96.59.

The dollar rose to 136.14 yen from Thursday's 135.91 yen. The euro fell to $1.0081 from $1.0091.

Joe Mcdonald, The Associated Press